Buckingham Breaks the Law to Leave CNMI:UPDATE -CNMI Police Assault Newscaster Tina Sablan

August 3, 2012

Attorney General Edward Buckingham who claimed to "break no laws" left the CNMI despite the fact that he was ordered to appear in court to face criminal charges. The court summons stated:
“If you do not appear, an application may be made for the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.”
They should issue the warrant. No Attorney General should disobey a summons. This man stated to KSPN that he was the Attorney General for thirty more days and was going on vacation. Any other law abiding citizen who is summoned to appear in court would postpone the vacation to appear in court. Since the Office of the Attorney General receives federal funds, the federal law enforcement officials should be looking into why an Attorney General is breaking the law.

A commenter in a previous post stated that Buckingham was escorted to the airport by the newly appointed Fitial puppet, Deputy DPS Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro. The Marianas Variety confirmed this news. Was Ogumoro ordered to escort Buckingham by the Governor? Or did the two law enforcement officials cook up that scheme themselves? Pathetic!

The Marianas Variety reported that the AG took a Delta flight to Japan. Well, certainly he can run, but he cannot hide. His legacy will follow him and he certainly could be disbarred if not imprisoned for his crimes.

Update


Tina Sablan wrote a disturbing description of Buckingham fleeing:
"Just hours after the Public Auditor's Special Prosecutor filed criminal charges against him for public misconduct, Attorney General Ed Buckingham was spirited out of the CNMI on a 6am flight to Narita using public resources. Police escorted him to the airport in the wee hours of the morning - about 3am, at least four DPS vehicles, at least half a dozen officers. Deputy Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro carried Buckingham's luggage. Police physically pushed me and ordered me to "get back" while I was filming. But we've confirmed: Buckingham was personally served his penal summons just before the plane took off. He's ordered to be back here in court on Monday morning."
Tina is a courageous heroine for trying to videotape this criminal Attorney General and his thugs for the KSPN news.

Tina also stated, "Ultimate irony: one of the DPS vehicles used in the escort was marked "Human Trafficking Unit".

What Attorney General gets served with a criminal summons and makes the choice to leave instead of following the law and appearing in court? What deputy commissioner of a police department abets a fugitive to the point of carrying his luggage? Is there no end to the corruption and lawlessness of CNMI public officials?

The police are charged with protecting the public, but once again the CNMI Department of Public Safety (not) demonstrates that public safety takes the backseat to protecting politically-connected lawbreakers. The police were not enforcing the law, but abetting a criminal and attacking an innocent civilian.  I suspect that Governor Fitial requested the escort service. Perhaps to get Buckingham off-island before he was put under oath and divulged all of the Administration's dirt.

This escort service is an abuse of public funds. Federal funds should be pulled from DPS immediately. There should be a federal investigation. There should also be an investigation by the Office of the Public Auditor.

This is chilling.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wendy said . . .

Any other law abiding citizen who is summoned to appear in court would postpone the vacation to appear in court.

We are not talking about a mere vacation here, but a permanent 5000+ mile move back to the mainland after nine years in the CNMI.

Given the apparently subjective nature of this prosecution, one cannot too heavily blame him for just saying “good riddance” and leaving.

Would you want to be involved in (and pay for) long and convoluted legal proceedings in the CNMI? Even a civil action, let alone a criminal matter. Many, many defendants in local criminal and civil cases have done this, as you undoubtedly well know -- including former employers with labor judgments against them. It is almost the “island way”.

Yes, there undoubtedly will be an arrest warrant issued.

Then do you think the Governor will be inclined to sign an extradition warrant? Does the CNMI have the funding to pay for the return of every scoff-law?

Given the Bar Association's antipathy toward Ed, some sort of bar action against him might be more likely. But don't hold your breath for extradition. The CNMI has enough other problems.

I doubt the Honorable Edward T. Buckingham III will ever again set foot in the CNMI.

Wendy Doromal said...

10:34 The AG will also never practice law again. He disobeyed a court order. He is now a fugitive. Who would ever hire this criminal attorney? Yes, I believe he will pay one way or another. He is a lawbreaker, with a broken moral compass. I think the federal officials will be involved. He broke federal laws a federally funded office and went on to break more.

Wendy Doromal said...

10:34

Oh and it makes absolutely no difference whether it was a vacation or a permanent move. A law abiding citizen would postpone the travel and appear in court! He is a criminal.

Green Cards for All! said...

Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) is a federal offense. See 18 U.S.C. § 1073.

However, while appearing on its face as susceptible of prosecution in federal court, in practice such charges and warrants are issued by federal courts with cooperation from the FBI and USAO to aid and assist the local and state governments in apprehending fugitives. See U.S. Attorneys Manual 9-69.400. Once a defendant appears in federal court, the federal complaint is dismissed and he is turned over to face the local charges. Id. Indictments and actual prosecutions for this offense are not undertaken.

I don't know whether the feds would even get involved if the Governor declines to issue an extradition warrant. Maybe we'll have to wait for an acting Governor to do so, or a newly elected one in January 2015.

On the merits of the case, I see some questionable charging decisions by OPA.

Yes, I think the AG lacked the “guilty mind” with respect to the OAG new employee welcome party at the Governor's house. The federal Office of Special Counsel recognized this in declining to prosecute him. Sometimes ignorance of the law is an excuse. Even for a lawyer!

Likewise, Count V, seeming to impose strict liability on the AG's approval of contracts “for legal sufficiency” is highly questionable. Remember, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The AG is not the guarantor of all contracts he reviews. Otherwise, no one would ever want to be AG, in this environment.

Do you think Tim Villagomez, for instance, advertised his kickbacks to the Lt. Governor's legal counsel or AG, for instance, when submitting the contracts?

Are there allegations Buckingham knew the contract violated the ethics statute, and that there was no “necessity” (lack of other ARRA-knowledgeable individuals in the CNMI and looming deadline) exception to validate the contract?

Poor legal advice is not usually a crime, unless aiding and abetting or counseling an offense. Contract approval does not seem to fall within that scope. The hasty filing may have preceded proper legal research.

If you can manage to get and upload a copy of the complaint, I'm sure you'll get a lot of hits to your blog. (!)

P.S. Ed is old enough that I don't think he was planning to practice law any more.

It's not your money! said...

The AG may lack a mind, but three or four other OAG employees, including a couple non-lawyers, immediately knew it was illegal for the AG to host a partisan political event and use office time, equipment and personnel to arrange it. All of the employees brought their concerns to the AG's attention before the event. There is nothing questionable about OPA bringing these charges.

Anonymous said...

you can bet he will wind up not in the US. I'll bet arrangements have already made for bucky and his wife to live comfortably on foreign soil.

If he wasn't guilty he wouldn't be running.

Lets hope karma comes round!

But, we live in a police state. Let us pray the Feds get involved.

Anonymous said...

Edward Buckingham's story reminds me, "Who let the dogs out?". People are involved in his departure from CNMI should also be investigated by federal agents as CNMI Law enforcement agencies are funded by federal funds. how dare CNMI Law enforcement agents allow a Criminal to leave CNMI? Where is the CNMI Law enforcement's code of ethics? I am so curious to know what CNMI corrupted governor FITIAL and LEGISLATURES got to say on this as the story gets developed further.

Anonymous said...

Mam Wendy, I just hope that in a few days from now we can hear something from PEOPLE concern about this latest incident involving the so CALLED LAW ENFORCERS. And I hope this particular incident will lead to the end of everybody's sufferings. Sufferings as a result mainly by the wrong doings of these people who allowed themselves to be used by these corrupt LEADERS.
I'm hoping that the Law abiding US citizen remains same as they were before, that they fight for the RIGHT which is what the are known for as a NATION were justice is of great value and that 'NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW' GOD BLESS US ALL.

Anonymous said...

Some lawmakers are not afraid to talk


http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=120930

Anonymous said...

Some lawmakers are not afraid to speak up

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=120930

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? And no the "Feds" should not "investigate" anyone leaving the CNMI that would violate your constitutional rights.

Wendy Doromal said...

2:22 Excuse me, he WAS proven guilty. He was guilty of violating the Hatch Act. Look at the above post and read the letter from the Special Counsel. And YES the federal government is OBLIGATED to investigate the use of DPS officials, time and equipment to aide and abet the escape of the AG to avoid facing criminal charges. The DPS is federally funded. Don't worry, I will be notifying all the right offices.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Wendy. Notify as many offices as you can. this bs has to stop. I cannot believe this criminal administration gets away with cr@p like this time and time again.

captain said...

What was the "deal" at the airport? Did this guy (and wife) go through security check.
How could they legally bypass that requirement?
I wonder what kind of incriminating documents this guy may have been carrying, if any?
Couldn't this also bring the Feds into the picture with all of those involved?

The biggest thing in this whole picture is that if this is kept at the NMI level for any type of prosecution, IF convicted it goes without saying that none of these Judges here would not do anything in the way of sentencing this guy.(unless he has sufficiently pissed off some of them)

IF by some slim chance that this guy was convicted and given any kind of a sentence, the Gov. would pardon him before he could do any Jail time. Much as was done in the Pres. Nixon case.(by a sitting President)

Without any Fed prosecution I fear that this will be moot.
The best that possibly may happen is that a warrant for arrest will hang over his head for what ever the statute of limitations is.

On another side, this can definitely further affect Fitial's credibility which will also affect any of the candidates he is sponsoring.

NOW would be another ideal time for this legislature to initiate impeachment proceeding against Fitil.
But I doubt this will happen either.
Hopefully Fitial has violated a major Fed law that he could be taken down.
The other thing though is according to one FBI agent awhile back, they do not really want to take out a sitting Gov. unless it is for a serious crime.
After this Gov. is out of office there could be charges brought against him as has been done on many ex Mayors of Tinian in the past by the Feds.

Wendy Doromal said...

Hello Captain

I hope that there is a reason for the federal investigators to get involved so that no CNMI official can interfere with the case. You are right that this is one more strike against the corrupt Fitial Administration.

I also questioned the bypassing of airport security in the newest post. Now THAT would be a huge federal violation.

captain said...

BTW, I would be willing to bet that the Gov. will fire Mr. Pai after this incident since he is serving at an appointed post.

Monday and next week may bring much interesting news.
I sure hope that there was something done that will bring down this house of cards with a bang.
6 years has brought the CNMI down the tubes besidies all of the bad publicity in the US.
No wonder no investor wants to get involved in the CNMI

The Saipan Blogger said...

The governor can't fire Mr. Pai. He gets appointed to a six year term -- longer than any other in CNMI government -- so that he overlaps administrations.